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Expressionism Vs Surrealism: What’s The Difference?

Expressionism Vs Surrealism: What’s The Difference?

Expressionism Vs Surrealism: What’s The Difference?

Expressionism and surrealism are two of the most popular artistic movements of the 20th century. But what’s the difference? And why are they so popular? In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between expressionism and surrealism, and see why each one is so popular among artists and art lovers.

What is Expressionism?

Expressionism is a style of painting and sculpture that was popular in the 1920s. The Expressionist movement was inspired by the works of German Expressionist painters like Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Emil Nolde.

Expressionists sought to depict raw emotions and feelings in their work, often using bold colors and chaotic brushstrokes.

Surrealism is a different style of painting and sculpture that emerged in the early 20th century. Surrealism is based on the principle that reality is essentially surreal, or unpredictable. Surrealists use bizarre images and objects to explore the strange hidden side of reality. They often focus on the emotional power of dreams and imagination.

What is the difference between Expressionism and Surrealism?
Expressionism is a more traditional style of painting and sculpture that focuses on depicting raw emotions and feelings. Surrealism is a more experimental style that focuses on exploring the strange hidden side of reality.

What is Surrealism?

Surrealism is an artistic movement that began in the 1920s. It is characterized by the use of unexpected, bizarre, and seemingly nonsensical images and symbols to create works of art. Surrealist artists often explore the boundaries between reality and imagination.

Some of the most famous surrealist artists include Salvador Dali, Joan Miró, and René Magritte.

The Differences Between Expressionism and Surrealism

Expressionism and Surrealism are two different painting styles that originated in the early 20th century. Expressionism is a more realistic style, while surrealism is a more abstract style. Here are some key differences between the two styles:

1. Expressionism is more realistic than surrealism. Expressionist paintings feature heavy use of brush strokes and realistic colors, while surrealist paintings feature abstract colors and strange shapes.

2. Expressionism is focused on expressing emotions and ideas through the painting, while surrealism is focused on creating a dream-like atmosphere.

3. Expressionism is often used to depict dramatic events or scenes from life, while surrealism is used to create moods and feelings.

4. Expressionist paintings are often created using large canvases that require a lot of time to complete, while surrealist paintings are often created on smaller canvases that can be completed in less time.

5. Expressionism is often associated with German Expressionist artists such as Max Ernst, George Grosz and Otto Dix, while surrealism is more commonly associated with French artists such as Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.

Expressionism: The Expression of Emotion through Visual Means

Realism: The Description of Reality through Visual Means

The Expressionist Work Is Intense, Dynamic and Pushes the Limits of Painting

Surrealism: The Use of Strange, Unusual and Surprising Visual Elements to Create an Interesting and Unique Image

Surrealism: The Absurdity of Reality through Visual Means

Expressionism is a style of painting and sculpture that uses thick brush strokes and exaggerated details to create a realistic appearance. Expressionism is often compared to Surrealism, which is a more abstract movement. The main difference between the two styles is that Expressionism focuses on the realism of the objects and Surrealism focuses more on the surrealistic aspects of the paintings.

One example of an Expressionist painting is “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. This painting features a man with twisted facial features screaming in rage. The distorted facial features and bright colors help to create an image that is very realistic.

In contrast, an example of a Surrealist painting would be “The Sacrament” by Salvador Dali. This painting features two people drinking from a bowl filled with what looks like blood. The surrealistic elements of this painting make it difficult to determine what is actually happening.

There are many different styles of Expressionism and Surrealism, so it’s important to be aware of which one you’re looking at before making any judgments about them. Both styles have their own unique artistic appeal that should be considered when purchasing or viewing artwork.

Differences Between the Two Art Forms

In Expressionism, the artist tries to depict emotion and convey a feeling of the moment through their paintings. They often use bold colors and heavy brushstrokes to create a sense of impact.

In contrast, Surrealism is a more abstract art form that uses bizarre and unexpected images to create an effect of surprise or astonishment.


Expressionism and surrealism are two distinct artistic movements that share a few key features. While both Expressionism and surrealism borrow from realism, they focus on creating images that are markedly different from what one normally sees in the world.

Expressionist painters aim to capture the emotional intensity of their subjects through thick paint layers, while surrealists tend to use dream-like imagery to convey an eerie feeling.

Both movements have influenced many other artists throughout history, so if you’re interested in exploring more artsy concepts, it might be worth learning more about these two movements’ differences.